NEW YORK-Some 500 experts, scholars, policymakers and practitioners in the field of education gathered in New York on Saturday to discuss new trends in the industry and the importance of educational exchange between the United States and China. During her keynote speech at the opening of the third annual U.S.- China Education Forum of Columbia University, Julia Chang Bloch, president of the U.S.-China Education Trust, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, said she firmly believes that education is the foundation for building understanding and trust, and has been a “cornerstone” of the U.S.-China relationship. As the two countries are facing some difficulties in bilateral ties, it is “more important than ever to draw on the power of education exchange to build mutual trust, avoid conflict, and ensure peace and prosperity in the 21st century,” said 77-year-old Bloch, whose father F.Y. Chang was among the first Chinese students coming to study in the United States over 100 years ago. Bloch, former U.S. ambassador to Nepal and also the first Asian American to hold such a high diplomatic position in U.S. history, called on educators from both sides to play an essential role in promoting one of the most important bilateral ties in the world today.